Book Two of the Ben Gold Series
by Rajan Khanna
Science Fiction | 268 Pages | Published by Pyr in 2015
This book was received from the publisher in return for an honest review
Whilst it was the synopsis for Rising Tide which first drew me to the Ben Gold series by Rajan Khanna, Falling Sky impressed me with its fast-paced and thrilling premise, its post-apocalyptic setting, and its cliffhanger ending. Following on from this exciting debut, I had high hopes that Rising Tide would continue in the same vein and, whilst I would have preferred some divergence from the pattern laid out in book one, it turned out to be a rather enjoyable sequel which has me waiting expectantly for the third.
Ben Gold sacrificed his ship in an effort to prevent pirates from attacking the hidden city of Tamoanchan. Now Malik, an old friend turned enemy, has captured Ben and Miranda—the scientist Ben loves. With Miranda held hostage, Ben has to do Malik’s dirty work.
Miranda has plans of her own, though. She has developed a test for the virus that turned most of the population into little more than beasts called Ferals two generations ago. She needs Ben’s help to rescue a group of her colleagues to perfect the test—but first they must rescue themselves.
When a terrible new disease starts spreading across Tamoanchan and people start dying, it seems there’s something more sinister afoot. Then an old enemy attacks. Can Ben fight off the invaders? And will it be in time to save anyone from the disease?
In Falling Sky we followed Ben and Miranda as they fled the doomed scientific colony of Apple Pi as it came under the lustful eye of the Gastown raiders. In his determination to retrieve his stolen airship, The Cherub, and to assist Miranda in finding a cure for the horrific virus responsible for turning humans into Ferals, Ben embarks on an adventure which takes him into the heart of the piratical state and to the one safe haven left for civilisation, Tamoanchan.
In an explosive cliffhanger ending, Ben, in his somewhat out of character determination to protect both Miranda’s research and innocent lives, sacrifices the remaining link to his past to bring down the raiders who would see Tamoanchan fall.
Following on directly from this cliffhanger ending, Rising Tide follows Ben and Miranda as they are pulled from the sea by an old friend turned enemy, Malik. Intent on getting one over on Ben, Mal takes Miranda hostage and sets Ben on a path that could very well mean his death. Determined to save Miranda, the one woman who makes him something of a good man and the one woman who might just make a difference to the world, Ben uses all his cunning to fulfil his quest and free them both from Mal’s clutches.
But there are more dangerous forces at work in the world than an old friend with a vendetta. A new virus is spreading across Tamoanchan, a virus which can only have sinister forces behind it. The only hope for the people of Tamoanchan is Miranda’s research; the fate of the world may just depend upon them. If they can escape.
Once again we are transported to a world of airships and sky towns, of ferals and raiders, and scientific researchers fighting for a cure. The setting is just as exciting and intriguing as the preceding novel but I feel that, once again, this post-apocalyptic world would have benefited from a third person perspective. The science behind the novel is also a little haphazard, but it is painted with a light enough brush throughout to moderate any major fears. The action throughout most of the novel also serves to alleviate some of these problems as it leaves little room to second guess such decisions.
Khanna writes in a dynamic style which continually moves the narrative forwards and lends to the air of excitement which is the mainstay of this novel. However, the sections of the novel from Miranda’s perspective, which were almost journal entries, threw me a little and felt a little shoehorned into the storyline. They do go some way into developing Miranda’s character, uncovering Mal’s intentions, and describing events which would otherwise be lost with Ben’s absence, but otherwise felt a little out of place after the single perspective introduced in Falling Sky.
Ben Gold sets a cracking pace during his narrative, the continued flashbacks to his past adding depth and interest to his character whilst highlighting his personal growth. Yet the same problem remains from the first novel – I just don’t connect with him. Whilst the storyline in itself is entertaining, my continued issues with Ben along with my slight disinterest in Miranda, made this a slightly less enjoyable read than the first novel, despite having a storyline which in itself was on par with Falling Sky.
However, the return of Rosie and Diego to the storyline, along with Claudia, goes some way to mitigate whatever issues I have with the protagonists. There is something of a spark in these gun-toting and sharp-shooting supplementary characters which can’t help but entice you into the storyline, and their roles frequently fill the action-packed and exciting scenes which carry the narrative along and make this on whole, a rather enjoyable read.
Rising Tide certainly continues in the same vein as Falling Sky and, despite any problems I may have had with the characters, was more than enjoyable enough to have me looking out for the third novel in this series. If you’re looking for a short and sharp read which transports you back into this post-apocalyptic landscape of Ferals, raiders and airships, then Rising Tide is sure to bring a little excitement into your world.